Since April of 1970, Earth Day is celebrated as a day to promote the multitude of clean and positive impacts made on the environment globally. But for farmers and ranchers, every day is Earth Day as they recognize their efforts in conservation while producing food, fuel and fiber for consumers far and wide. Through technology driven efficiencies, crop diversity and improved management practices, sustainability efforts across the agriculture community have increased substantially in the past few decades.
Jennifer Martin, director of sustainability communication for The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), main focus within her position is working with the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program from a communication standpoint. As for Meg Steward, territory sales manager for AGI Suretrack, her focus is to provide and find solutions for customers in the fertilizer department.
The Fertilizer Institute’s 4R Nutrient Stewardship program is utilized to provide science-based information for the education, advocacy, and implementation of crop nutrient stewardship to benefit both the environment and any producer’s bottom line.
The three main pillars that The Fertilizer Institute focuses on are a healthy environment, a strong industry and productive public policy. “After reviewing our key initiatives, we realized that telling the story of fertilizer really comes at the top,” says Martin. “Nutrient stewardship and sustainability continue to be a top priority, so we are working on developing sustainability initiates that will assist our members to help meet their own sustainability goals.”
Commercial fertilizer provides nutrients not available in soil, replaces nutrients removed during harvest and balanced nutrients for better productivity and higher yields. Just as humans need essential minerals and nutrients to grow strong and stay healthy, so do crops. “It is important to fertilize crops in a sustainable way, while still allowing us to feed a growing population,” Martin says.
Similar to the initiative and technology advancements of The Fertilizer Institute, AGI SureTrack is also working to promote move the sustainability needed.
AGI SureTrack is comprised of 37 divisions around the world, that encompass the entire food production process divided into five different platforms including: fertilizer, grain, feed, seed, and food.
“As for sustainability, we are contributing on many levels. We are making sure fertilizer is handled properly, that the retailer is providing the grower with the best possible blend option, and our cooperate initiative is to combine software and technology to be in line with the 4R’s of right time, place, source and rate,” Steward says.
“In an effort to accelerate the development and adoption of new technologies, in the last year, we have worked with USDA and EPA in sponsoring the next generation fertilizer challenge,” Martin says. “Our main initiative was looking at how we can best keep fertilizer in the soil by reducing the losses to the environment.”
As technology continues to advance into industry production, one of the most important factors is data collection. The more key information a producer knows about their field history, application records and past yields allows them the ability to plan for their next crop efficiently and accurately. Martin said data is really the backbone on making decisions in your field starting with your soil test and yield map collections.
AGI SureTrack also recognized the importance of incorporating technology across the entire product line and ensures in the future that all AGI SureTrack equipment will be equipped with technology advancements.
“There are four main advantages of a connected farm,” Steward says. “The advantages are being able to monitor their grain from the safety of their living room, allows farmers to condition their grain in bits to avoid spillage, help farmers to reduce energy consumption and allows farmers to measure their sustainability practices and environmental stewardship.”
Steward says, moving forward, AGI’s sustainability path moving forward is exceeding customers’ expectations, enhancing governance and risk management, ensuring wellbeing and sustainability manufacturing.
To learn more about the sustainability effort that both The Fertilizer Institute and AGRI Suretrack is making within the fertilizer industry by visiting tfi.org and aggrowth.com or by reaching out to Jennifer Martin at email@example.com or Meg Steward at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
To see this CoffeeTalk in action, visit the AGI Community News page.